A week ago today the weather was miserable in Wisconsin. After two days of 65° degree weather we woke to temps in the 30s, and an expected snowfall of 2-5”. Not the weather we had hoped for as we laid my mother to rest in Neenah’s Oak Hill Cemetery.
We met at the cemetery at 11:00 and headed to what shelter a nearby mausoleum entrance could provide from the snow and sleet. It was a beautiful service with readings and intentions from some of her oldest friends.
Upon leaving the cemetery we headed back to our hotel at the Home2Suites in Appleton. We had two rooms that were adjoining, and so allowed the 12 of us ample seating and room to move around. Mom loved a grazing meal in front of the fire in the library, a glass of wine in hand. We couldn’t provide the fire or library, and we didn’t offer wine, but we had warm coffee, cupcakes, and all the cheeses and charcuterie meats she loved.
As a genealogist, I love to tell stories. As the keeper of the photos, my mother loved to identify, date to the best of her ability, and gather them into an album of sorts for all to view. Last week we played on the room’s massive TV a slideshow I had put together of her life.
In the past, we have done photo boards where pictures are randomly tacked to foam core sheets, and placed along the receiving line. For my mother-in-law, I created a movie using actual footage from their wedding and adding images of her and my father-in-law through the years. I was a bit ahead of my time as it didn’t transfer to a form that would play well at the dinner after the funeral.
This time we had a bit more control as we sent the slideshow from my laptop to the Apple TV.
As people entered the room, the kids had it playing and the coffee brewing (we brought a 12 cup pot from home, along with a favorite flavored decaf). The images stopped people in their tracks. 51 images with captions flowed across the screen. Mom and her brother as young children, mom as a teen in red shoes, a 1947 selfie stating “Me ’47 taken by me,” when she was 14. An image from her days studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, graduation from Drake University in 1955. Her summer trip to Europe where she and two college friends traveled 2900 miles over 31 days in a small Renault, visiting France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, back to France, London, Scotland, back to London then the ship back to New York. Her days working at Quaker Oats in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, meeting my father, their marriage and move to New York City. The birth of their first child, me, and the second, my brother. Images of us as a family, and her days working as the secretary at First English Lutheran Church in Appleton. Images through her life. A snapshot of time. A life. My mom’s life.
Because of COVID and distance, it took a year for this to happen. But I think she would have been pleased with how the day came together. Rest in peace mom.
My great-great-grandfather had one of those names that could be spelled several different ways, depending on the time of day, the person putting his name down onto paper, or the weather. His name was Lewis Herman Cook or Louis Herman Cook. The name sounds the same when spoken, no matter how you spell it.
The question is, how did my great-great-grandfather spell it? What was his preferred form? Below is a list of ways that his name is spelled, minus Wausau newspaper spellings which almost always used the form, Louis.
His maternal grandfather’s name was Lewis Phelps Blood
1880 United States Census – Lewis H. Cook
6 Aug 1906 Letter written to him by his father, Alfred – Louis Cook
1912 Wausau City Directory, p. 90 – Louis H. Cook
12 Sep 1918 WWI Draft Registration Card – Lewis Herman Cook, signed as Lewis Herman Cook
1918 Wausau City Directory, p. 137 – Louis H. Cook (125)
15 Nov 1918 Marathon County Resolution – Louis H. Cook
1919 Army Transport Service, Neal returning home – Louis H. Cook (125)
1920 Wausau City Directory, p. 178 – Louis H. Cook (125)
20 Dec 1920 Evangelical Lutheran Church marriage record for Neal Jasin Cook and Clarice Ovedia Weik – Louis Cook
30 Jun 1923 Appointment of U.S. Postmasters – Lewis H. Cook
1925 Wausau City Directory, p. 223 – Louis H. Cook (325)
1928 Farmer’s Directory, p. 673 – L. H. Cook
27 Apr 1928 – Margaret’s Marriage Announcement – Lewis H. Cook
10 Jan 1928 Re-Appointment of U.S. Postmasters – Lewis H. Cook
1929 Wausau City Directory, p. 141 – Lewis H. Cook (325)
1931 Wausau City Directory, p. 127 – Lewis H. Cook (325)
28 Jun 1932 – Anola’s Marriage Announcement – Lewis H. Cook
1933 Wausau City Directory, p. 108 – Lewis H. Cook (125)
1934 Gravestone – Lewis H. Cook
His maternal grandfather spelled the name Lewis, his WWI Draft Registration Card, his Postmaster appointments, Marriage announcements, and his Gravestone all using the form “Lewis” suggest to me that this is the spelling given to him at birth. The preferred spelling.
This past week a photo was posted to the Appleton Historical Society’s Facebook page. I love old photographs and so I took a close look at this large group image. As I scanned the image a familiar face appeared, my great-grandfather, Lewis H. Cook. In my excitement, I read the verbiage associated with the post, then the comments below, and quickly responded that my great-grandfather was in the third row, first person from the right.
The thread was all speculation as to the reason for the group photograph – they were all wearing medals of some sort – and where the photo was taken. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that it must have been a postmaster’s convention, as that would explain the number of ladies included. I will say it again, I immediately jumped to a conclusion.
Why is it we sometimes do not use the basic rules and steps for sound genealogical research, but jump to conclusions with a passion? And stick to that conclusion no matter what?
I stuck to the idea that this was a postmaster’s convention even as others made sound research discoveries, such as identifying the building that stood in the background. The building is the Grand View Hotel in the Chain O’Lakes, Waupaca, Waupaca, Wisconsin. Thank you to the Waupaca Historical Society for the greatimage that helped in the identification.
Through my stubbornness, I kept searching through newspapers finding “proof.” See! Here is evidence! There was a postmaster’s convention in Waupaca, never mind there is no mention of the Grand View Hotel.
Finally, I came to my senses. Looking back at the original post I read: “My great uncle in the middle row second from the right. He was county clerk, William Wolf…” Image of me smacking my head with the palm of my hand. I had to stop being thick-headed and behave as the genealogist that I am. LOOK at the clues before me. Once I did that, it took me just a few seconds to discover the answer.
The 10th annual meeting of the Wisconsin County Clerks Association was held June 22-23, 1915 at the Grand View Hotel. The Appleton Evening Crescent reported that “County Clerk William Wolf will attend…” The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported “The state convention of county clerks closed on Wednesday at Chain-o-Lakes…There was a humorous talk on marriage laws and their administration by L. H. Cook, Wausau…” And finally, the Wausau Daily Record-Herald had this to report: “County Clerk Louis H. Cook arrived home this morning from Waupaca, where he attended the annual meeting of the Wisconsin County Clerks’ association. He was appointed a member of the executive committee and of the committee which will prepare the program for the next annual convention…”
I foolhardily was barking of the wrong tree. The good news is that I came to my senses, and I now know the significance of the great photo, and another fabulous image to showcase the many Cook stories.
“County Clerks to Meet at Chain O’ Lakes Next Week,” Appleton Evening Crescent, 18 Jun 1915, p. 8, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 8 Jan 2022).
“County Clerks Will Meet Next Year at City of Superior,” The Green Bay Press-Gazette, 25 Jun 1915, p. 4, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 8 Jan 2022).
Lewis/Louis. Note to all – Never give your child a name that has variations. Just because you prefer one spelling does not mean that this is understood by all.
Today is December 8th, and I am making cranberry sauce. We love cranberry sauce any time of year, and I don’t think any member in our family would turn down a helping of the canned variety. But the holidays require homemade sauce, and because of this I had a partial bag in the refrigerator leftover from Thanksgiving. Making sauce seemed like a good idea. Something to do while I wait for the fruit for Gary’s fruitcake to finish its steeping time.
I always start the sauce using the basic method printed on the Ocean Spray bag of fresh cranberries. Pulling the bag out of the garbage… I see that they now include a method for what they are calling “Homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce.” This is a method that I have used, which is to follow the original recipe then strain the sauce through a strainer but to be honest, I never had good luck getting this method to jell properly.
It was holiday time, in a year now long forgotten that I was at the house while Marie was making cranberry sauce, and I asked her how she was able to get her sauce to jell. She told me that after she had strained the cranberries, she put them back in the pan, added another cup of sugar, and simmered the sauce for an additional 15 minutes. And there lies the secret to Marie’s cranberry sauce.
Today is also the anniversary of my father-in-law’s birthday. Born in 1912, he would be celebrating his 109th birthday. Where has the time gone? It seems like we have just celebrated his 80th birthday. While that birthday was a party at Van Abel’s Supper Club in Hollandtown, many birthday dinners were celebrated at Van Abel’s. I do miss the days when we would all dress up to meet for dinner. Starting with a drink at the bar, dinner in the small dining room, and ending the evening with a nightcap at what is now called the “New” bar.
Happy times. Holiday times with family.
Marie’s Cranberry Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 12-ounce package of fresh or frozen cranberries
Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour sauce into a bowl. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups
To make strained cranberry sauce:
Follow directions in step 1 as written. After boiling the cranberries for 10 minutes, remove pan from heat and strain. Return sauce back to the pan, adding an additional cup of sugar. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Pour sauce into a bowl. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.
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This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 20 Dec 2015.
It was a Saturday before Christmas, maybe in 1988 or 89, and Gary and I had headed out to Hollandtown to get some work done for Holland Veal. Walking into the house we were greeted by the wonderful smell of cookies baking. The smell of Christmas at Butch and Marie’s.
Entering the warm and wonderful smelling kitchen, we found Butch sitting at the kitchen table preparing the cookie tins for filling while Marie was working at the counter. They were relaxed, content in their companionship and conversation.
What makes this memory stick is not the relationship of my in-laws (that was constant) but how Butch was prepping the cookie tins. While I would just rip off a piece of waxed paper and stuff it in between layers, he was sitting at the table with pencil and scissors at hand, tracing and cutting each waxed paper round to fit perfectly inside the tin. He did this every year for Marie, and each year each tin was a perfect presentation of cookies.
The recipe that I am sharing today is a family favorite – for both my family and the Fassbenders. Marie and I made them for our families each year, but with one difference, the chocolate. Toffee Squares are a wonderful crunch of toffee flavored cookie topped by chocolate.
My recipe from an old Betty Crocker Cooky Book uses the heat of the “just out of the oven” cookie to melt the squares of Hershey bar that you quickly place on the cookie, then spread out. I shared this quick and easy way of adding the chocolate with Marie one year, but she “stubbornly” continued to melt chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Either way, the cookies didn’t last long in either home.
Updated Addition: In November 2021 I unpacked a box of Marie’s old cookbooks and sat down with all of the loose pages to determine in which book they belonged. In the pile was a tattered book that Marie had stapled back together, and in this book dated November 1953, I found her Toffee Square recipe. It is pictured below with a transcription of her much smudged notes.
Before there were food bloggers, Instagram, and YouTube, there were community cookbooks. Cookbooks compiled and edited by women’s organizations, churches, and other groups, mostly prepared as fundraisers. The women of the community would put out a call for the group’s best recipes. These were then collected, organized into categories, and prepared for printing. Some were typewritten, some printed in the cook’s own handwriting, many include illustrations made by the artist in the organization. All were prized upon publication and shared with family and friends all over the state and the country.
My mother-in-law collected these cookbooks and used them often. Upon trying a recipe she would write notes to herself on the recipe such as any changes she had made, or most often, we will find a “good,” or, “v. good” written above the recipe. Most often it was some sort of baked good that she had tried. Her family could be fussy about meat and vegetables, especially onions, but there was never a hesitation to try a new recipe for a baked good. I have been collecting and compiling my version of a community cookbook. As I gather the recipes that Marie had deemed worthy of a “good” comment, first as a blog titled “The Aroma of Bread” and here, just tagged as The Aroma of Bread, and indexed under Marie’s Recipes.
When we were preparing to move to Rhode Island, we worried about finding a hairdresser. Sarah put a request on her “hairdresser message board” asking if there was anyone in Rhode Island that would like to take on four of her clients from Wisconsin. The call was answered by Sara, a Wisconsin transplant. As luck would have it, her salon was not that far from our new house.
Sara recently returned from a visit home with a few treasures that she happened to share an image of on social media. One image caused my daughter to stop and take a second look. Showing me the image she asked, “Doesn’t Grandma have this book?” Running upstairs to where I had recently unpacked the box with the cookbooks, she came back downstairs with the same book.
Our Favorite Recipes By The Ladies Of St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Compiled and Edited by St. John’s Guild, West Bend, Wisconsin. Copyright 1949, 1959 St. John’s Guild. A book so well received, and so good, that it was reprinted ten years after its first printing! In my experience, at the ten-year mark, a NEW cookbook was collected and prepared. Sara’s copy is the original from 1949, where ours is the 1959 reprint. Here we are in 2021, two transplanted families from Wisconsin, neither from Washington County, both having in their family collection the same church cookbook.
Paging through the cookbook looking for tell-tale signs that a recipe had been attempted, or was a favorite, we found a few. The first to catch our attention was this sticky page that was Margaret Rohde’s recipe for “Lemon Jello Salad” where Marie noted, “I used large pk jello.”